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Posted at 11:36 PM ET, 01/20/2009

Playing with Fire at the Warehouse

By Stephanie Merry

Maybe it's a residual high from the day's festivities, but the mood at the Art of Change party, hosted by Artomatic and Playa del Fuego at the Warehouse, is especially jovial. Attendees are striking up conversations with any stranger standing nearby.

Like the Manifest Hope party last night, art is the main attraction here, though the "creative attire" certainly competes with the paintings on the walls. There is no shortage of sequins, purple tulle or even bunny ears. One attendee, artist Lola Lombard, even made her own Obama-inspired ball gown.

"About 48 hours ago, I decided I should make something," she says, and the result is a painted dress featuring all kinds of Americana from the Statue of Liberty to the Capitol to the faces of Lincoln and our newly sworn-in president.

Meanwhile, down the street in a heated tent, the party continues as people groove to Prince (in skin-tight leopard print, no less). And outside the tent's opaque plastic windows, things are heating up. Fire performers fling flaming sticks and turn in circles while blazing hula hoops orbit their necks.

In the venue next door, a stage of rotating performances finds Victoria Vixen performing her burlesque show to "Whatever Lola Wants." She finishes her routine -- stripped down to red fishnets and a matching corset -- and the crowd still screams for more. Instead, they get a couple of party attendees on stage answering one simple question: what would you want to tell President Obama if you could?

"That he should go over to the tent and see the fire people," one woman insists. Her friend has another message in mind, one that seems to fit with the especially friendly atmosphere here:

"Sir, you are a hottie."

-- Stephanie

By Stephanie Merry  | January 20, 2009; 11:36 PM ET
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